Opening Reception Photography Exhibit
ON THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL, AWARD-WINNING PHOTOGRAPHER KAI WIEDENHÖFER ILLUMINATES THE PSYCHOLOGY OF BORDERS AND RAISES PROBING ETHICAL QUESTIONS.
Opening Reception Thursday May 15, 2014 6:00 pm- 9:00 pm
Gallery hours: Monday through Saturday 11 am to 3pm and by appointment
Chicago, IL April 7, 2014 - DANK Haus German American Cultural Center presents "Freedom Forward: 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall," an exhibition of artist Kai Wiedenhöfer's panoramic photographs.
Kai Wiedenhöfer photographed the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. He was deeply moved by the historic event, calling it the most positive political experience of his life. It left him optimistic about the future. He thought he had seen the end of walls like the one that divided his city for 28 years. This idea proved to be wrong, walls have made a big comeback.
From 2006 to 2012, Wiedenhöfer documented the construction of the barrier between Israel and the West Bank with large format panoramic cameras. The work was published in the book CONFRONTIER by Steidl in 2013. When he visited Northern Ireland in 2008, he thought the so-called "peace lines" dividing Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods might start to come down. Instead new walls were constructed and old ones were reinforced. Over the last seven years, Wiedenhöfer has also been to the fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea, and a wall in Baghdad built by the U.S. Army. In all, he made 21 trips to eight different walls.
Through his work he aims to illuminate the psychology of borders, to raise questions and probe our experiences. He intends to reveal us as participants, sometimes unwitting, but participants nonetheless. And while barriers are a protection, they are also a cage. His is an appeal to talk more and try to understand the people on the other side.
Kai Wiedenhöfer: "Walls are no solution for today's major political problems, and I think the Berlin Wall is the best proof of that." These days it's hard for him to imagine a world without walls. But he wants to remind people what Berlin demonstrators chanted in 1989: "Die Mauer muss weg the wall has to go."
The Art and Heritage Initiative aims to keep significant historic events alive through the arts. Recently, when we asked a group of inner city youth in Chicago how many had heard about the Berlin Wall none raised a hand. This year the world celebrates the demolition of that prison wall erected by a totalitarian state to keep its people inside, the event that marked the end of the Cold War.
About the Artist
Kai Wiedenhöfer, born in Germany in 1966, received his MA in photography and editorial design from the Folkwang School in Essen and studied Arabic in Damascus, Syria. Since 1989 the focus of his work is mainly the Middle East. He has received numerous awards, including the Leica Medal of Excellence, the Alexia Grant for World Peace and Cultural Understanding, World Press Photo Awards, the Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography and lately the Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award. He has published four books with Steidl: "Perfect Peace" (2002), "Wall" (2007),"The Book of Destruction" (2010), which was exhibited as a solo exhibition in the Musée dArt Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and "Confrontier" (2013) about separation walls worldwide. The photographs from his last book were exhibited outdoors on a 1,200 feet section of the Berlin Wall in the 2013 WALLONWALL show.
DANK Haus German American Cultural Center (View)
4740 N. Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
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